No, you don’t need to turn off that new iPhone feature

You may have seen videos circulating on social media this week warning of a new iPhone feature and concerns over privacy and security. Cyber security experts are de-bunking the rumors, saying the Name Drop feature included in the iOS software update is perfectly safe.

"It's just an alternative to the old school way of just telling someone what your phone number is," said Sean Lanterman with Computer Forensic Services. "Certainly there are always risks involved in using any technology, but specific to the ‘Name Drop’ technology, those risks are very low."

Local police departments nationwide were also guilty of sharing the misleading warning. In Minnesota, Stillwater Police posted on its Facebook page claiming one’s contact information could be shared just by bringing two phones close together. 

Lanterman says it's not that simple. In order to share contact information through the ‘Name Drop’ feature, both phones have to be unlocked and within an inch of each other. In addition, both parties have to consent by pressing a button.

"It will not download all your photos. It won’t download all your contacts. It will only share your own contact," said Lanterman.

While the feature is automatically turned on in settings when a software update is initiated, it is easy to turn off. Users can go to iPhone settings, under ‘AirDrop’, and turn off ‘bringing devices together’ to disable the feature.

"That’s what can happen on social media. Someone plants one piece of information, maybe misstates something… other people pick it up and re-share it," said Lanterman. "It’s a modern game of telephone."